Duck parasites and poisons

Maggots: When the ducks do not have a sufficient supply of water to stay clean, they can attract maggots. If the vent is dirty, that is partly why the ducks get attacked with this disease. The maggots can be removed by using an ointment and fly spray. 


The ducks should be monitored and checked out for several days consecutively. If they already have fly eggs, they will still hatch.


Mites: When the ducks are scratching excessively, it could be a sign that mites have come around. Other birds that have mites can transmit them to the healthy ones. If you have ducks and chickens together, there is a greater chance of the ducks to get mites. 


The mites will gather on the duck’s feathers and the feathers will turn grey in colour. In order to get rid of them, you will have to use a pesticide. You can also use flea spray to get rid of the mites. 


Treat the ducks with this for at least four days. To prevent another onset of mites from coming around, dust powder in the areas where mites congregate, in nesting areas and open cracks.


Lead poison: The symptoms of lead poisoning in ducks include weight loss and not much coordination. The poison can come from paint that is lead based. In order to prevent a recurrence, keep them away from paint and allow them to have grit in order for them to prevent being in contact with lead.


Roundworms are more numerous and generally more injurious than the other parasites. Young birds lose their appetite and become dull and emaciated. Severely infected birds may die.


No satisfactory treatments for the removal of roundworms and tapeworms of ducks and geese are known. Sanitary measures which prevent the contamination of feed and water with the droppings of infected birds are of value in keeping parasitism at a low level.


Lice: Lice are six-legged insects. The ones which affect the waterfowl are quite long-bodied, and are greyish. They do not have wings, cannot jump, and evade removal by living in the feathers and hiding. They are most frequently seen on the white wing feathers of ducks—particularly on the axillar under the wing. The lice do not suck blood, but chew skin scales and fine feather. They have flattened bodies and clawed legs which make them very difficult to remove—by finger nail or beak. Size: 2 mm in length.


If the ducks are in good condition, they will control the parasites. But if a duck is sitting, or if the birds are infested and scratching, they will probably need help. Powders containing insecticide are the traditional treatment for external parasites. Pyrethrum is very effective against mites and lice.


Avoid getting powder or spray in the eyes of the bird on treatment. Two treatments are needed, spaced at 8-10 days. This is because pyrethrum does not kill the eggs of the mites and lice. So, when these hatch, a second treatment is needed.